DHL Supply Chain investing $300m in North America

DHL Supply Chain is to invest $300 million on emerging technologies in 350 of its North American facilities.

The technologies put in place will vary according to customers’ needs and be based on research by DHL’s internal innovation teams. The plan is to use the technology to help DHL Supply Chain address the individual challenges met by its diverse customer base. They will include robotics, augmented reality, robotics process automation, IoT and DHL’s proprietary end-to-end visibility solution – MySupplyChain.

DHL Supply Chain North America CEO Scott Sureddin said, “This investment is about a holistic view of emerging technologies that enables our customers to achieve their growth and profitability goals. Our customers’ needs are not homogenous as each business and segment has unique challenges and levels of maturity. Therefore, it is important that our customers can benefit from our experiences and expertise with a variety of emerging technologies.”

Some 65% of companies in a DHL survey reported that e-commerce and its implications on services have a significant impact on their supply chains. They are turning to technology to achieve faster delivery times and deal with fluctuating demand. In alignment with this trend, DHL is already leveraging emerging technologies at approximately 85 of its 430 North American facilities. 

“While many technologies are already in active deployment, collaborative piece-picking robots, artificial intelligence applications and self-driving vehicles stand to have the most promise today,” added Sureddin. The potential impact on customers’ businesses, which in some deployments have produced productivity gains upwards of 25% and throughput capacity gains of 30%, are two of the main drivers for accelerated investment in the coming years. DHL’s experience with these technologies stands to minimise infrastructure costs and maximise service levels. 

Tim Sprosty, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at DHL Supply Chain, said, “These technologies enhance the value of our people; they don’t replace them. Our team will be equipped with the most advanced technologies, trained on emerging ones and retained through a culture of innovation, collaboration and recognition. We believe this approach is a winning strategy not just for our business but for our customers’ businesses as well.”